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    NMRC’s Executive Officer Promotion Ceremony Highlights Importance of Diversity and Women in Service



    Story by Steve Vanderwerff 

    Naval Medical Research Center

    Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC) executive officer, Captain Franca Jones, was recently promoted at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial.

    The ceremony held the trappings of a military pageant, including guest speakers with Navy, Army and civilian backgrounds, and a joint Army Navy color guard. Family, friends and colleagues created an atmosphere that reflected how diversity and inclusion have influenced her throughout her career, as well as a strong support network.

    Jones began her naval career in 2002, since then she has successfully completed a range of challenging assignments. She credits past assignments and responsibilities for getting her to where she is today.

    “Take the opportunities as they arise, listen to your gut. If I hadn’t listened to mine, I wouldn’t be here now,” said Jones.
    Capt. Adam Armstrong, commander, Naval Medical Research Center, spoke of her character and ability to remain calm and decisive under pressure.

    “Cmdr. Jones transitioned to NMRC as the new executive officer during a busy time handling last minute issues with ease demonstrating her ability to thrive under pressure,” he said.

    During his remarks, former boss Dr. Chris Hassell, senior science advisor, Department of Health and Human Services, said the ability to adapt to ever changing situations is an unwritten requirement in military service, as well as maintaining a healthy work-life balance. He considers Jones’ technical expertise and leadership skills as unequaled, and said he was fortunate to witness her successes and thinks she is a hero.

    “Franca saved lives, so she is a hero. Not directly but through her programs. She adds to any team or project, and I respect her devotion to family,” he said, “Franca, I am proud of you, all you have done and all you will do, and I am honored for the opportunity to have spent time with you and your family, congratulations.”

    From deployments to Afghanistan to appearances on national television during an Anthrax incident Jones is no stranger to “hitting the ground running.” Her strong work ethic and remarkable leadership skills are characteristics that were a common theme throughout the ceremony.
    Army Col. Doug Badzik, chief, Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division, Defense Health Agency echoed Hassell’s sentiment and raised a question about how much sleep she gets.

    “During a travel assignment after a full day and a half of flying Franca checked into the hotel and went straight to work. I would be honored to serve with her again in the future,” he said.

    Recently retired Rear Adm. Colin Chinn, 14thJoint Staff Surgeon followed, saying Jones is a “superior officer who doesn’t just look good on paper. According to him, her promotion to the rank of captain is based on past accomplishments yet more importantly represents her potential of what she can accomplish in the future.”

    “Her potential has already been recognized by the Navy by assigning her to the position of executive officer of NMRC. This demonstrates the Navy’s confidence in her ability as a leader to progress and advance the research community,” Chinn said.

    He also gave insight into Jones’ life outside the office as an elite athlete.
    “Franca is one of few people I know who is a swimmer, runner, cyclist and triathlete and being an avid swimmer myself, I have to admit she’s beaten me more than once.”

    He then administered the oath of office. She was then joined onstage by her husband Darius and daughter Elizabeth who attached her captain shoulder boards.

    The newly promoted Captain Jones thanked those who helped make her promotion ceremony a success, her guest speakers, and special guests, some traveled from as far as Kentucky, Northern Maryland and New York to be there with her, and her family.

    “It is our harshest critics who help develop us into the best. Their constructive criticism has helped me become the leader I am today and hopefully I can continue to impart those teachings in the future,” she said.

    She explained how a military career means long hours, travel and deployments, which translates into time away from home. Jones thanked her husband for his encouragement and endless support, and to her daughters’ patience and independence.

    “You two are the reason I stay motivated, I couldn’t do any of this without you,” said Jones.

    Jones thanked the women in service before her. Honoring them for breaking barriers and allowing women like her to be respected and promoted. She encouraged her guests to take in the history of the woman in military service at the memorial, her reason for choosing to have her ceremony there.

    Jones ended her remarks with a call to action to embrace diversity and to continue to work across barriers for continued success.

    “Although it is a day to celebrate me, I would like to celebrate all of you. Your friendship, teamwork and partnership have led us to achieve a common mission. For my colleagues that mission is to ensure our men and women in uniform are healthy and ready to fight for our nation. We achieve that mission together as a Joint force, inclusive of Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, civilians, and contractors, by embracing diversity.”



    Date Taken: 10.02.2019
    Date Posted: 10.02.2019 10:24
    Story ID: 345275
    Location: SILVER SPRING, MD, US 

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